While waiting for Mad Men to download through iTunes last night (that's right - I pay for quality entertainment) I talked with a friend about the end-of-the-world dreams we'd both recently experienced. Hers involved flying through space after the planet combusted and hanging out in a free-wheeling, ethereal cloud that defied all laws of gravity (read: fun) with a bunch of other survivors. Mine dealt with alien snowdrifts that sucked people under amid ominous groaning and clanking sounds (read: smoke monster) as the world grew darker and colder. Between the two, I'd take flying in space any day.
Everyone has those childhood misnomer-type situations where they grow up thinking one thing is totally normal only to eventually be proven wrong by other people who in no way were brought up the same. In my case, I thought it was perfectly natural to dream regularly and vividly, and for a good 80% of those nightly occurring dreams to be nightmares.
Big bad wolves. Marauders outside the window. Crab-like spiders. Freddy Krueger. A small door in the back of a closet leading to an underground chamber where pure, unadulterated evil lurks behind an even smaller, locked door. This was the stuff my youthful personality formed from, and I tend to think it explains a lot.
After I came out in college the nightmares ebbed quite a bit, which I thought was some cool psychological proof of something or another - don't ask what. Now when they happen, though, they tend to be epic and foreboding in a way I never before could have imagined. The scary thing about the end of the world that my dreams so convincingly iterate - and that movies and books of the same topic don't do nearly so good a job with - is the overwhelming element of confused dread that the looms over the proceedings. If the world were to actually end today (and assuming aliens or a mysterious otherworldly force is involved, which is always the case in my dreams), the first thing to go would be telecommunications, and, accordingly, any and all sense of knowing what's going on elsewhere. And we need to know what's going on elsewhere to make sense of anything.
Without online news or cell phones, a confused hush would quickly steal across the atmosphere. And within that hush would be our undoing. Can you imagine not knowing the first thing about the state of the rest of the world as the alien snowdrifts pile up outside your darkened windows? I can - but only because it already happened to me once. And trust me, it wasn't fun.